Edgefield County, SC

County Name: 
Edgefield
State: 
South Carolina

Total population (1850): 39,262

Enslaved population (1850): 22,725

Percent slave: 58%

Extant nineteenth-century inquests: 524

Date range: 1829-1899

Percentage of violent crimes in county sample: 39% (202/524)

The small, rural district of Edgefield, South Carolina was the Deadwood of its day, amassing a reputation for murder and mayhem unique in the nation. Forget the gangs of New York, the toughs in tailored suits strutting about Edgefield's Court House Square were up for almost anything. Take this typical exchange between Thomas Cherry and Charles Cobb.

Cherry: "You Damn puppy."

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "Do you mean to call me a Damn puppy?"

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "If you call me a Puppy, I will ag you in the face."

Cobb: "You are nothing else."

With that Cherry stabbed Cobb through the face with an umbrella.

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards."

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards," noted Ben Tillman, one of the ten men of the district to serve the state as governor. Like Tillman, circuit judge Thomas Mackey took an almost perverse pride in the region's reputation. "I am going to hold court in Edgefield," he told a friend, "and I expect a somewhat exciting term, as the fall shooting is about to start."

Like most reputations, Edgefield's was at once deserved and exaggerated. At 39 percent, Edgefield County does have the highest proportion of violent crimes in the CSI:D sample. At 35 percent, Greenville County is not that far behind. More important, Edgefield's reputation for affairs of honor masks the mountain of dishonorable violence revealed by the morgue. Men spoiling for a fight on the street are rarely much different at home. In June 1893, Bill Gasten was sitting near his wood pile when his wife emerged from the house to draw some water from the well. Something she said set him off and he grabbed up a walking stick, hit her with it, then threw her down and began choking her. Emerging from the kitchen, her sister grabbed up the stick and told Bill to "let his wife alone." She had just started back to the kitchen when Bill cracked her head with a hoe.

Edgefield County, SC Inquests

Displaying 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
Auson Peeler July 25, 1868 near Kalmia[?] Mills Accident horse
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Uriah Koon October 16, 1847 at the house of Col John Hunt Accident wagon
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule

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